Biryani, a mouth-watering word indeed but then comes the thought of laborious cooking and time spent in the kitchen and something that is definitely not for a mid-week dinner.
Well, here’s a quick and easy recipe that is not only quick to make as a mid-week dinner but is also a healthier version with the use of brown and wild rice. Okay, while this will not match a properly prepared biryani dish cooked on low heat for an hour or two in an oven or seal pan, it will however taste delicious nevertheless! It will actually look like you’ve spent a lot more time on it. And what a yet-another-great-way to use lentils in a vegan recipe.
So, with a little of ahead planning and using more than one cooking pan, this can be made in about 45 minutes or less. I am also not using a lot of ingredients with this one but feel free to add other vegetables to this if you feel like it. Some suggestions are potatoes which are added to the traditional Mauritian-style biryani, green beans and cauliflower florets.
Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)
1 cup mixed brown and wild rice
1 cup brown lentils
150g vegan mince meat (optional)
2 medium carrots, cubed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chillies
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5 – 6 whole cardamom pods
3/4 tablespoon tamarind paste (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh coriander and mint mix (I didn’t have these today so I used some dried bay leaves instead)
Use two separate pans, wash and drain the rice and lentils separately. Fill with water until it reaches your first knuckle while the tip of your finger is just touching the rice or lentils.
Cook both on medium heat until soft but not mushy. You may need to add more water at some point if required. When done, drain water well and set aside to cool.
While rice and lentil are cooking, you can prepare your vegetables, i.e. chopping the carrots and grating / mincing ginger.
In a large deep pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the fenugreek, cardamom, garam masala, cumin and ginger. Roast lightly.
At this point the kitchen will be filled with a wonderful aroma! Can you smell it?!!
Add the vegan mince meat (if using) and let cook for about 8 – 10 minutes. Stirring to avoid burning.
Then add coconut milk and tamarind paste (if using).
Stir and let coconut milk thicken with the spices and mince until all is dry again.
Add the crushed chillies, the carrots and half of the fresh herbs. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.
Add cooled rice, lentils and frozen peas. Mix will with the spices. Add the rest of the herbs and give everything a final good stir!
Serve with your favourite Indian pickles and enjoy dinner!